» Don’t let the USPS ruin the qrcode experience HouseOfBrew – Unplugged and Brewed

Don’t let the USPS ruin the qrcode experience


The USPS will be offering a special 3% discount
in July and August for mailers who include a two-dimensional barcode on a letter or flat according to James Cartledge, from Post&Parcel.  The USPS is hoping the summer “sale” will highlight that technologies like QRCodes on physical mailings can help boost traditional direct mail response rates.

This is great news, right?
First, let’s take a look at what a 3% savings means.  A  10,000 piece postcard mailing, going at First Class Presort rate, with an average postage rate of .369 per piece, would total $3,690 in postage.  A 3% savings could mean $110.70. Sound great?  Let’s think this over.

All you need to do is print a qrcode to get the discount.
No big deal, right?  Your tech guys say that’s no problem.  You already have a website, so you can just point everyone to it via the qrcode.  You’ll make sure to add some instructions on the postcard to let everyone know you are hip to this new technology, and they should get a qrcode reader for their smartphone to check out your website.

WAIT A SECOND! If your website is not mobile enabled,
or you don’t have a micro mobile site experience, you can’t just “get a qrcode to go mobile”!  The mobile web is different; customers who will scan your qrcode will be quite disappointed and confused if the content they see takes too long to download, contains a video that doesn’t play on their phone, or they need to pinch and flick and scroll and zoom.  Get it?  You need to START with a good mobile experience before you worry about printing your fancy new qrcodes.

So, what does this mobile experience stuff cost?
Well, that depends.  If you have someone on staff who currently develops your website, you could point them in the direction of jquery mobile.  I think this is a nice and quick framework to get a mobile version of a website up and running.  Don’t use all the content you currently have – think about what you’d want if you were a customer and you were on your phone (yes, that means you need to stop thinking about YOU and start thinking about THEM).  If you don’t have anyone on staff, look to invest anywhere between $2000-$8000 for a simple mobile web experience.

Are there any quick and inexpensive alternatives?
If you don’t have anyone on staff capable of developing a mobile site and you’re not ready to pay your printer, direct mail house, or a mobile agency, you might want to check out iflymobi.com.  With plans from $6.99 to $99.99 a month, a pretty slick WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, templates, and reporting with analytics, this may just be your quickest way to market.  If you’re looking to combine direct mail, the qrcode discount, and your social media channels, you might also consider using a Meet-Meme account.  Meet-Meme qrcodes direct the mobile user to a slick “connection” page that lists all of your company’s social networks and other company URLs that are a part of your digital footprint.

Now’s the time to invest in your mobile strategy.
Just like 15 years ago was time to invest in a website, it’s now time to invest in a mobile website.  If you’re already executing traditional direct mail campaigns this summer, ask your direct mailer about this discount and get started now on your mobile site that you’ll be driving people to.  Don’t be fooled – this discount is unlikely to pay for your entire mobile site investment, but it’s a nice discount of postage for something you’re going to need anyways (by the end of this year, 1/2 of all people in the U.S. will have a smartphone).

So let’s review:
1) You need a good mobile site if you’re going to let people use their cell phones to find out stuff about you.
2) If you have talented staff, allow them to educate themselves about the mobile web.
3) Find a company that does mobile, and only mobile.  Someone I know, like, and trust is Roll Mobile.
4) Check out Meet-Meme.com and iflymobi.com for quick and cool alternatives.
5) Tell everyone you know that qrcodes are cool – only if they lead to valuable content that doesn’t suck on your phone.

   
  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    I think that is where many go wrong including myself not understanding the importance of having a mobile friendly site. I think seeing the Meet-Meme cards quickly made me understand how I would approach it. I was looking at QR Codes as more on the measurement site but forgot the practical side which looking back is even more important.

    • http://www.houseofbrew.com Jonathan Brewer

      You’re absolutely right on just being practical. Start simple. If you have a blog, make sure you use a plugin to make that blog mobile friendly. Then, just build what you need for your mobile site – that might not be your entire current website.

    • Anonymous

      You’re absolutely right on just being practical. Start simple. If you have a blog, make sure you use a plugin to make that blog mobile friendly. Then, just build what you need for your mobile site – that might not be your entire current website.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpinto Jason Pinto

    Jonathan,
    This is an excellent article. I am absolutely excited about the news of the USPS discount. It should help to increase the QR Code awareness to the mainstream… But, in order for that experience to truly be successful to the mail recipient, companies must follow best practices. You did an excellent job of listing those in this post and providing links to resources that can help them.

    Also, thank you very much for the iFlyMobi shout-out. I greatly appreciated it.

    Jason

    • http://www.houseofbrew.com Jonathan Brewer

      Jason,

      I am also extremely excited. This summer, you can bet that large mailers are going to take advantage of this for sure. Hopefully by fall you’ll still see an increased velocity in the use of qrcodes and direct mail, and then some time by early 2012 a huge spike in increased end-user scan rates.

    • Anonymous

      Jason,

      I am also extremely excited. This summer, you can bet that large mailers are going to take advantage of this for sure. Hopefully by fall you’ll still see an increased velocity in the use of qrcodes and direct mail, and then some time by early 2012 a huge spike in increased end-user scan rates.

  • http://twitter.com/SIvariableprint Steve Schneider

    I am a bit more concerned about the summer sale on QR codes. I love the idea of discounting postage – but the concept of encouraging people (blindly) to place a QR Code without understanding is problematic. Not only do you run into the HOPE that someone will know to make it a mobile site and such… but more importantly that the person scanning it will be taken to something relevant and valuable. QR codes are all around – but there hasn’t been a reason to scan in most cases. Inundating the market with more pointless QR codes (I like QR’s – but pointless links are annoying) will lead to a noise effect that will limit future scans.

    • Anonymous

      Steve,

      Yes! Marketing, Technology, and Print industries need to collaborate here to insure that this summer is a success by insisting good practices for the use of the QR Code. The Code just enables people to use their phones to go to a mobile site. This reminds me of the days when people wanted to publish a URL that went to an under construction page with the blink tag and link to a PDF.

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  • http://twitter.com/BradGrass Brad Grass

    Awesome post!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, brad!

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